So you’re producing some great videos full of informative and/or entertaining content. Now you’d like to figure out how best to make money from those videos so you can make more and, you know… eat, pay the mortgage, whatever. Which revenue model is going to get you the most bang for your video bucks?
Revenue Model Options at a Glance
Your viewers pay to have access to your videos for a limited time, just like you would renting a video through Video on Demand.
An on-going monthly payment that gives your viewers access to (usually) all of your content. However, different subscription rates might possibly be used to open up higher tiers or combinations of videos.
Customers pay for a single video or package of videos, and that’s what they get to keep.
Either free or for a fee, viewers are invited to view your content for a limited time, or are restricted to only a portion of your library.
Your videos may represent only a portion of a total package of items that you sell (this package might include an eBook or physical workbook, consultation time, etc.). This revenue model gives a blanket price for the entire collection and your videos are part of that whole.
Choosing Your Revenue Model
The main thing to remember is that you are experimenting. Even if you choose a revenue model that doesn’t work out all that well for you at first, you’ve still gained the knowledge of what not to do, which is valuable in and of itself, so don’t beat yourself up over it.
The other thing to keep in mind is that your business’ situation is fluid. What is good for you now may not be maximizing your ability to make money later on as you add more content to create a bigger library over time.
You really can’t go wrong with installing a trial period. Not only does this give potential customers a taste of what you have to offer in terms of product, but it also gives you the chance to expose them to your brand.
(If you’re not familiar with branding, it’s how you sell in addition to what you sell. If you make instructional videos your brand might be to have super-serious experts hosting no-nonsense videos, cutting to the chase. Or perhaps you work to make the lessons as fun as possible. Branding is the “flavor” of your company, in addition to its product.)
Single Purchases can work well if you have a limited number of videos in your catalogue.
Single Purchases can receive a boost from the Trial Period – you’re hitting them with great information and your trial video is just about to reveal your first big secret in how to save $1000 a year with this one simple home accounting tip and… if they want to see more they’ll have to buy the video.
Success using the rental model can depend largely on what kind of content you have to offer. Entertainment can work well with this model, but things get a bit tricky if you’re putting out instructional videos.
When people are learning something new they’re naturally going to want to be able to pause and review sections at their own pace. Putting a time limit on lessons can cause your customers to stress out – not an ideal situation unless you want your company’s brand to be about giving your client base grey hair.
Entertainment on the other hand usually gives the full experience in one go. If they want to watch your content again, then they’re likely to rent it again, which is always nice.
Or, like with traditional DVDs, they may rent it the first time and then want to buy it so they can always have it. In that case you might consider offering both a rental and a single purchase option, much like Apple or Amazon do for movies.
Subscriptions are likely to work best if A) you have a library of content instead of just one or two videos, B) you’re constantly publishing content in the same vein or that appeals to the same target audience, or C) a combination of the two.
Think Netflix. Their library of movies is always changing, plus of course they’re making their own exclusive content.
Bundles can be a great way to cross-promote. You don’t necessarily have to produce the other items in the bundle yourself; you can find other people and team up with them.
So let’s say you’ve made an instructional video about the basics of sewing. You might want to search out someone who has put out an e-book that complements (but doesn’t just give the same info over again) your videos – say an e-book about how to choose materials for dressmaking.
You now have cross-promotion – the e-book author’s readers get to know about you and vice versa.
The other form of bundle is a one-time purchase of multiple videos. In this case you can make a tiered pricing menu – you get videos A, B and C for this price (Tier 1), but for only $5.95 more you also get D and E (Tier 2).
This may seem like you’re ripping yourself off, but what you’re actually doing is getting some money for videos that your customers may never otherwise have watched. So no, you’re not getting the full price for D and E, but since people viewing A B and C were never likely to buy them anyway, you’re at least getting some money where you would normally get nothing at all.
Keep Trying New Combinations
The only completely right answer (at least when you’re first starting) is to experiment. Let us know in the comments what you find works for you – or what approach didn’t work so well.
The very best revenue model of them all is to keep producing the best content you can, and when that’s released, make some more. The more you have out there, the more chances your future clients have to be hooked on your stuff.